Todd Crawford (1994) was born in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, where he wrote his first three books, a Clockwork in the Stars, The Final Gospels, and his anthology The Black Season. His writing style is recognized as descriptive, cynically honest yet whimsical. His works obsess over the geography of the human mind, existentialism juxtaposed with the politically religious, and nature hearkening back to the Romantic era of literature. He first published a Clockwork in the Stars through Lulu publishing, but released his latter works under the CreateSpace banner before reissuing Clockwork with his new label. Although his only currently released works have been of the literary outlet, he has indulged in other orientations of Art such as music (having composed a companion piece for his novel, The Final Gospels), film (having adapted his novella, Brighter, into a short film), and comic books. Crawford is currently working on his third (traditionally structured) novel, The Pilgrimage, an abstract commentary of politics as he is browsing agents to market the release.”
Hello! What’s your name?
Hallo! My name is Todd Daniel Crawford.
What do you write and why?
I don’t write genres at all, because I feel that if Art is an imitation of life, then much like life, it should be an open box. Nobody I’ve met has ever lived a life of Tragedy, or a life of Comedy. Sure, there are elements of both (sometimes to frightening – or hilarious – degrees) that can be found upon dissection, but I always try to make my books more naturalistic than that. The purpose for genres began with the pulp novels for marketing schemes, so that readers could easily identify the type of story they were shopping for, but that soon diluted the stories themselves into fitting the mold. At best, I’d like to say that I write progressively. The medium of my writing has shifted over the years from comic books to screenplays, advancing on to short stories and finally novels. Whatever suits the story best is what I typically go for, but professionally I have only released short stories and novels.
Do you read the same genre that you write? Why or why not?
Not necessarily. I think that Clive Barker and Stephen King may be the closest to the particular tone I’m looking for. Barker just throws the lid off of the genres he was once associated with (dark Fantasy and Horror, for the uninitiated) and King has some really human moments in his books that define his works for me. I’ve always aspired to capture both of those elements in my own works. I suppose that I write the kinds of books that I would like to be influenced by, and the kind of books that I want my readers to put down feeling as euphoric as I did having put those books down. Aside from those two, I began by writing a lot of Horror literature and I’ve been catching up with my classics lately. I suppose if you want to say I read classic literature in the hopes that others will view my own books the same way, you wouldn’t be too far off. (laughs)
What is the title you are promoting right now?
Well, I’m here to promote the re-release of my Constellations cycle, which I’ve spent the last five years working on. “Brighter,” “a Clockwork in the Stars“, and “Just another Star” are already available for the Amazon Kindle and The Final Gospels will be available shortly after with “Darker” tagged on as a morbid epilogue at the end as it was originally presented. The Black Season will make its digital debut on September 9th, the day I finished writing it in 2011. I don’t think A Nightmare on Elm Street 9 will make the digital cut, however, for legal reasons. I plan on replacing that one with a short story titled “I’m Asking You to Shoot Me in the Face,” a love tale that revolves around September 11, 2,001, time travel, and quantum physics. I’ve been very obsessive about dates lately, particularly September 11th, the date which The Black Season was printed in paperback for CreateSpace, and I have alluded to time travel and quantum physics since November through poetry and interviews. I feel that a very important element of my life was thrown off and I’ve missed out on a lot in life as a direct result, so this will be a very interesting way to deal with that loss. It really sums the themes of The Black Season perfectly and I’m proud to have thought of it. I’m also here to promote my upcoming novel, The Pilgrimage.
What is it about?
The Pilgrimage is the success story to Constellations’ failure. It’s the E! True Hollywood Story of The Antichrist’s political rise to fame, or at least that’s how I predict many will interpret it. Autobiographically I see it as the life I would have wanted for myself to live, and there are a lot of characters directly based off of those who were once in my life, former lovers and friends, and how I could have seen them coming together had things not fallen through. Thematically it’s largely about the romance between Art and Politics, and how they contribute to the second French Revolution. It’s very grand in scope, vaudeville and decadent in tone. Imagine Ziggy Stardust as the President of France and there’s the launching board.
What makes this book different from others in your genre?
Are there others in my genre? I like to think that my only genre is that of Todd Crawford books. I hope that I write stories that only Todd Crawford could have written in ways which only Todd Crawford could have written them. (Apologies for speaking in third-person there, but it was necessary.)
What’s the story behind the story?
Two dates: October 29, ’09 and October 21st of this past year. I think that those are two dates that only two or three people may recognize the significance of, and they are essentially the same event repeated. They were two magickal nights that I tried to build off of. I was in a position in October where for the first time in a long time I was comfortable with my life and perfectly happy. I had some of the best friendships of my life; I attended my first book signing that month; I was romantically happy; and I finally felt that after five years of struggling I had found myself in a position I wouldn’t mind holding for a while. Well, by the end of November the friendships were as good as gone, the book signing a memory (albeit one of my finest), and I was in the most emasculating circumstance I have lived through in my young life. It’s very difficult to look back upon the promise I had for myself back then and try to pick up where that version of me left off in my notebook, which I think has led to a lot of procrastination up until now. There were moments in my past books that I had to set down because what I was writing was just too powerful for me to accept within myself; every single line of The Pilgrimage has that effect upon me.
What is your goal as an author?
My goal as an author is to inspire people in the same ways that I was inspired as a child watching A Nightmare on Elm Street, or playing Sonic the Hedgehog. I want to create characters they wish they could meet, landscapes they dream of visiting, and present ideas to them that they will be chewing over for weeks to come. If I can do that, even if only to one person, and even if that person happens to be myself, then I would consider myself successful.
Are you working on anything new? Give us a preview of what’s to come!
Aside from The Pilgrimage, I’m piecing together a novel which takes place in Japan and deals with both mermaid and Kaiju terror. I’ve decided to take up the task of educating both myself and my readers of other cultures and lands rather than continuing to muse about those which many of my readers and myself already know about living in America and can form our own opinions of. I have never been satisfied with American cultures or Christian spirituality, so I think it would be both healthier and more challenging for me as an Artist and a person to both learn for myself and teach others about foreign ways.
Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite book?
My favourite author is Clive Barker, by miles, and my favourite book is Imagica, which he has of course written. It’s a masterpiece in every sense. My other favourite novel is The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand and I can easily say that it’s been the most influential upon my life. Before I read that book I had no self-esteem, and Rand’s Objectivism opened my eyes to a lot of concepts that helped me see the good in myself as well as the bad in others. I may not follow any ideology, but Objectivism has led me to discovering a lot of great and powerful things about myself, and for that I’m forever grateful.
I can be found on my Facebook page, and my author page as well as my books can be found digitally on Amazon. My books are all available in paperback through CreateSpace, and for a great price, too! (If I may say so for myself!)
What’s your view on the self-publishing/traditional publishing thing? Ideally, which one would you prefer and why?
Honestly, I find it very exciting. A portion of the satire in The Pilgrimage is aimed at this debate and how it relates to the French Revolution, or even the Degenerate Art of WWII which the Nazis aimed to suppress. There were two art shows established, the New Art and the Degenerate, with the goal in mind to introduce the public to the former and horrify and disgust them with the vulgar display of the latter. Well, in the end the public much preferred the “Degenerate” Art and that show was a large success, whereas the “Neues Kunst” was an embarrassing failure. I like to think of the self-publishing market in that light, as something which frightens the publishing houses and threatens to overturn the traditions of publishing. Personally, I would prefer traditional publishing for many reasons regardless of that opinion. Self-publishing has suited me well all these years, but I have much more ambitious goals for my future, many of which I cannot perform on my own.
Do you have a favorite quote?
Right now, my favourite quote is “Write drunk, edit sober” by Ernest Hemingway. I don’t touch alcohol or do drugs, but they have always fascinated me, and I find this quote very amiable. I think that even in an allegoric fashion, one should write in a flurry of passion and edit their work later on in a sober-minded mentality. It’s simple and fun.
What is the most important advice you have for aspiring authors?
Just be honest with yourself and the readers. You’re in a committed relationship to them as well as the story, so treat them right. Otherwise your readers would be better off reading other authors and your story better off left untold.
Is there anything else you’d like to say before we finish up?
I would like to thank you for granting me the opportunity to present myself in this interview, as well as the reader for taking the time to read this article and get to know me a little better. Please, “Like” my page on Facebook and keep in touch. I love hearing from readers, or even those who just like to discuss films, literature, paintings, or good musick! Thanks again!
Awesome, thanks for allowing me to interview you!
Please take a moment to visit Todd at the following links below!